When the Waifu is away…
Chapter 173: A Shield to Protect the Shield
A few days passed. The days passed way too peacefully.
The only problems I have to attend to are the maintenance of the neighboring village and Rat’s Bioplant modifications.
And Melty is helping out a lot with the village.
But this seems to be largely due to her subordinates, who are well versed in politics.
There is no tax as of now, but we will have to levy one in the near future.
For now the villagers must focus on restoration.
And, without saying, the villagers happily agreed to that matter.
Melty sometimes acts older than her age, but other times acts like a brat.
But after that assassination attempt I guess this village is one of the few places she can be at ease.
The Queen? I don’t consider her an enemy, but she’s not a person I should trust so easily.
The accessory merchant somehow opened a shop without me even noticing.
Because the shield is supposed to be the guardian of Demi-Humans, the bars are usually filled with Demi-Human adventurers.
We’re relying on soldiers for security now, but after reconstruction finishes, I guess I can pass the task on to anyone with free time.
There are still too few slaves to start a village.
Should I go to the Slave Dealer again?
By the way, on the day he got back, Fohl was dragged off by Firo, and forcefully had his level raised to 18.
When he got back, he collapsed. To gain so many levels in an hour may have been too much for his body to handle.
“I’m leveling up quite fast.” (Fohl)
“It’s probably due to Firo. She can run at an amazing speed taking down all monsters on the way.” (Naofumi)
“Y-you’re mistaken… The Usapills just gave much more experience than usual.” (Fohl)
“Is that so?” (Naofumi)
“Yeah, I don’t know why, but the numbers were definitely higher than when I had to fight them a long time ago.” (Fohl)
Fumu… It’s possible that Hero companions get more experience than other adventurers.
Why wasn’t I told this earlier?
Would anyone even notice unless they reset their level?
No, the other heroes may have been able to figure it out from other adventurers… but I’m not really in a situation where I can converse with them normally.
The slaves in my possession saw such EXP from the beginning, so they couldn’t find anything off.
I’ll ask Sadina about it later.
“I’m home~!” (Sadina)
Sadina appears carrying a large quantity of fish.
The villagers surround me in high tensions, as if to demand that I cook for them.
Since things have been going well as of late, I guess I’ll do it.
“The Hero of the Shield’s power is amazing. I get more EXP and my stats rise higher.” (Sadina)
“So that really was the case.” (Naofumi)
I guess the EXP bonus is a default setting of being a Hero.
It’s not specific to the shield. Otherwise Rishia would have noticed.
And so night fell.
“I’m back!” (Kiel)
“I have returned.” (Atlas)
Kiel’s party returns from hunting.
The party consists of Kiel, Atlas, Taniko and Gaelion.
It seems that Kiel is the main fighting force.
When Fohl isn’t frantically leveling with Firo, he also joins them.
But with this team, I see the balance of powers shifting away from Kiel soon.
“You took a while today.” (Naofumi)
“It took a while to feed Gaelion-chan.” (Taniko)
So they fed him before they got back.
Gaelion’s neck is growing longer, while the rest of his body remains the same.
His evolution is heading in an ominous direction…
“I made dinner, so eat it and sleep.” (Naofumi)
“Niichan’s home-made?” (Kiel)
Kiel seems happy.
Again, I question whether my food really is that tasty.
The shield’s effects are in place, but I wonder about my actual cooking skill. It’s probably raised as well with all the experience I’m getting.
“The food Naofumi makes is superb.” (Atlas)
“… yeah.” (Taniko)
Even Taniko nods. The Shield is amazing.
Anyways, I take out food for Kiel’s party and return to my house.
Wait. Where is Rafatalia?
… Ah right.
Rafatalia and Rishia are off doing training with the Granny in the mountains.
Firo went off to sleep with Melty.
It’s been a while since I’ve found myself Alone.
I guess I should put more work into making sellable medicine.
I need to teach some Lemos as well.
Kon. Kon. I hear a knock on the door.
Who could it be? It’s the middle of the night.
I open the door.
… No one’s there.
Was it my imagination?
I close it and return to my work.
… There’s another knock.
I once again open it to find the doorway empty.
Is someone trying to play a prank?
And so… Kon. Kon.
“Who is it! Who’s trying to incur my wrath!?” (Naofumi)
“Eh? Wrath… is it?” (Atlas)
Atlas stares at me with a blank expression.
“You’re not the one trying to annoy me, right?” (Naofumi)
“This is the first time I knocked…” (Atlas)
“What are you doing here at this hour?” (Naofumi)
“That is… um… Can I sleep with you?” (Atlas)
“Don’t you share a house with your brother?” (Naofumi)
If I handle this poorly, I think Fohl will get annoying.
I’d like to avoid trouble.
“Onii-sama is currently out cold. So until I fall asleep, can you please keep me company?” (Atlas)
Out cold… was it blunt force trauma?
No, I don’t think this pure girl would do such a thing.
I’m fine with talking with her, but sleeping together is a bit…
I find it hard to sleep around Rafatalia. My eyes sometimes fly open in the middle of the night.
Though Rafatalia herself seems to sleep just fine.
It might be due to my own Trauma, but I get a bad feeling whenever I’m sleeping in the same room as a woman.
I want to decline if possible.
“Then I shall sleep in front of Naofumi-sama’s house.” (Atlas)
What’s she up to?
She’s acting strange.
“There’s no choice. You can sleep in Rafatalia’s bed.” (Naofumi)
Rafatalia is out, so we have an extra bed. I let her inside.
… I’m a little worried about Fohl’s situation.
When Atlas falls asleep, I’ll go check it out.
I lead Atlas to Rafatalia’s bed, and tuck her in.
“Is Naofumi-sama not going to sleep?” (Atlas)
“Yeah, I have to work on making medicine.” (Naofumi)
Medicine always sells well. If I leave all the work to the shield, the production speed is too slow.
I’ll have to earnestly teach some villagers medicine making soon as well.
This village needs a set, steady source of income in order to expand.
I’ve begun selling some to the Apothecary in the neighboring village, but my stocks are limited.
Though Rat’s bioplants have started being able to produce herbs, producing the medicine itself seems impossible. I could sell the herbs whole, but that severely drops the price. I also don’t want to risk anything, so I want the plants to be processed beforehand. I have high poison resistance.
With the shield, I can judge whether or not a plant is poisonous, and I can handle them regardless.
“Naofumi-sama sure is a busy one.” (Atlas)
“I’m only doing it for the money.” (Naofumi)
“But… Because of your hard work I can now walk.” (Atlas)
I was only calculating loss and gain. Don’t mistake it for good will.
But Atlas seems to have found confirmation of her statement in my silence.
Keeping up with this girl is… difficult.
Like Rafatalia, she isn’t pushing any ideals onto me, but is treating all of my actions as positive.
If I told her to do something now, I’m pretty sure she would do it without question. How scary.
Though she’s just a kid.
This is bad… Isn’t it dangerous to be alone at night with that sort of person?
A shiver goes down my spine.
“W-what is it?” (Naofumi)
“Rafatalia told me that because you couldn’t fight, she became your sword.” (Atlas)
“Pretty much.” (Naofumi)
The only thing I can do is protect.
This is the Shield’s ability. One that hasn’t changed since I got to this world.
The only exception is Counter effects, and the Wrath Shield.
The Frisbee shield was a shield that let me throw Frisbee-like projectiles.
Now I can finally attack! I got really excited, and tried to throw one at a monster but as expected it fell onto the ground upon impact without dealing damage.
Now it’s completely become a toy to play with Firo and the other monsters.
After it’s been caught it disappears and returns to my hand.
“Rafatalia is working hard for my sake. I depend on her a lot.” (Naofumi)
To fight the Wave. To save the world. Rafatalia really is working hard.
When I look at her, I feel motivated as well.
Rafatalia is the person I trust the most in this world.
(TL: Taken out of context, this sounds…)
Everyone else seems to have hidden intentions.
(TL: No, dat girl has plenty of hidden intentions)
“Because I am the Hero of the Shield, The only thing this world lets me do is defend.” (Naofumi)
“… I know. When I look at this village, I see that everyone is being protected under Naofumi-sama’s wings.” (Atlas)
So I’m like a mother bird, protecting the chicks under its wings.
And that would make this my nest.
“If all you do is protect, everyone will someday leave your nest.” (Atlas)
“Anyone that wants to leave can leave, and still I will protect this village.” (Naofumi)
This is Rafatalia’s homeland.
As long as I restore this land, she will be able to live on when I’m gone.
Even if I return to my world, she has people like Sadina and Kiel.
Firo has Melty, and Atlas has Fohl. This village won’t fall so easily. And the inhabitants here should be able to take care of whoever tries to attack, be it a country or an army.
“But then… Who will protect Naofumi-sama?” (Atlas)
What are you saying? Why must I be protected?
Why would she direct that at me?
What point is there in protecting the Shield Hero?
“After coming to this village, I have heard all about Naofumi-sama’s exploits. You… did amazing work. No matter what adversity you faced, you overcame it and persevered.” (Atlas)
“Y-yeah… I see. I did receive a promotion too.” (Naofumi)
“However, who is going to protect you, Naofumi-sama?” (Atlas)
“… It’s not like I’m not protected.” (Naofumi)
Rafatalia, Firo, Melty and even the Queen. If I ever get in trouble, I think that they would try to save me.
“This is what I think. If Rafatalia is Naofumi-sama’s sword, then perhaps I could become Naofumi-sama’s shield.” (Atlas)
“Shield.. That’s not as easy as it sounds, you know.” (Naofumi)
It doesn’t feel good to become someone elses shield.
And I see no need for protection.
I’ve gone through painful experiences, but if I mulled over them I would never be able to achieve victory, and I would just sink further into depression.
Becoming my Shield is quite a goal.
It’s probably because from the moment she was born, she had to be protected by other.
She wants to be the one to protect someone.
If my right arm is Rafatalia, then she wants to become the left.
However… I get an uneasy feeling when she says this.
“That sort of thing is something you should say after you get strong.” (Naofumi)
“Yes. I swear it to you that I will get strong.” (Atlas)
“Good luck.” (Naofumi)
Atlas’s breathing calms down. She starts to fall asleep.
She sure has developed a strange goal…
If Fohl heard about it, he would probably get quite angry.
I carry Atlas and head over to her and Fohl’s house.
… He’s really sleeping.
“ZZZ? This isn’t a manga! Get up!” (Naofumi)
After putting Atlas in her bed, I wake Fohl up and take him outside to talk.
“Look after your sister properly. She came and said she wanted to sleep with me.” (Naofumi)
“W-what!? Then… Atlas has already been…” (Fohl)
He glares at me as if I had insulted his ancestors. His slave crest begins to glow.
“Who would do anything to that brat?” (Naofumi)
“Are you saying my Atlas has no charm as a woman!?” (Fohl)
“For the love of… This is a pain! I really just have no interest in that!” (Naofumi)
These siblings really are troublesome.
Though I say that…
To want to become my shield… what a strange child.